Orange wine

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Pinot gris, showing markedly different colorations.

Orange wine may refer to one of four very different types of wine.

  • Fruit wine made from orange juice rather than grape juice.
  • Sweet white wine macerated with orange peel.
  • A style of wine (usually dry wine) made from white wine grape varieties that have spent some maceration time in contact with the grape skins, giving the wine an orange color.
  • When spelled with a capital O: a wine produced in the Orange wine region of New South Wales, Australia.

Fruit wine made from orange juice[edit]

Orange wine, although not commercially widely available, is produced in White River, South Africa, and by home wine makers. The taste is a light bodied wine, pale or golden in color, dry, thin in body, alcoholic. Outcome is reliant on the yeast used. Recipes are few and far between.[1] Typically a home wine maker is receiving the bounty of their own orange tree or from a neighbors tree. The wine can be difficult to make because the fruit is very acidic, and the pH must be adjusted up. Further complications are encountered by a type of Penicillin bacteria that can stop the fermentation and spoil the wine. Great care must be taken to clean and sanitize the fruit. The remainder of the process is straightforward. The US government TTB has a standard for Orange Wine.[2]

Maceration with orange peel[edit]

Orange Wine or Vino Naranja is produced in Huelva and Málaga in Andalucia, Spain with white wine macerated with orange peel. Vino Naranja del Condado de Huelva is an appellation of origin for aromatised sweet wines originating in Condado de Huelva, Spain. The system of production and aging of this wine is a white wine flavoured with macerated orange peel followed by a process of aging by the solera system. Orange Wine from Huelva is usually dark orange to brown in color. The brown color is a result of sun drying of the grapes prior to fermentation.

Moscatel Naranja or Orange Moscatel is a sweet wine produced in Málaga. Bitter Seville orange peels, once dried, are macerated in alcohol distilled from wine and this is added to sweet moscatel wine. Orange Wine from Málaga is almost clear in appearance.

Maceration with grape skins[edit]

Typically white wine production involves crushing the grapes and quickly moving the juice off the skins into the fermentation vessel. The skins contain color pigment, phenols and tannins that are often considered undesirable for white wines, while for red wines skin contact and maceration is a vital part of the winemaking process that gives red wine its color, flavor, and texture. Orange wines get their name from the darker, slightly orange tinge that the white wines receive due to their contact with the coloring pigments of the grape skins.[3][4]

This winemaking style is essentially the opposite of rosé production which involves getting red wine grapes quickly off their skins, leaving the wine with a slightly pinkish hue. However, in the case of Pinot gris, among the more popular grapes to apply a skin-contact treatment that is neither red nor white, the diffuse nature of the term becomes illustrated, as both an orange wine and a rosé might achieve a similar expression of pink/orange/salmon-colored wine.[5]

The practice has a long history in winemaking dating back thousands of years to the Eurasian wine producing country of Georgia.[3][6] In recent years the practice has been adopted by Italian winemakers, initially in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia wine region,[7] while there is also production in Slovenia, Croatia, Germany, New Zealand, and California.[6][8]

Orange wines were not uncommon in Italy in the 1950s and 1960s, but gradually became obscure as technically correct and fresh white wines came to dominate the market.[6][9]

Wine from Orange, New South Wales[edit]

Orange is a wine-producing region in inland New South Wales, Australia. Some wine producers of the Orange region have expressed concern about the potential confusion between their products and the "Orange Wine" style.


  1. ^ Anderson, Stan (1970). The Art of Making Wine (1st ed.). Hawthorn Books. p. 72. 
  2. ^ "27 CFR §4.21 - Subpart C - Standards of Identity for Wine -(d) Class 4; Citrus Wine.". TTB. TTB. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Bonné, Jon, San Francisco Chronicle (October 11, 2009). Soaking white grapes in skins is orange crush
  4. ^ Asimov, Eric, The New York Times: The Pour (October 8, 2009). Orange Wine Edges Toward the Mainstream, Slightly
  5. ^ Bonné, Jon, San Francisco Chronicle: The Cellarist (October 13, 2009). When is a wine orange?
  6. ^ a b c Vinforum (June 29, 2010). Vinforum tester orangeviner (Norwegian)
  7. ^ Bonné, Jon, San Francisco Chronicle: Inside Scoop SF (June 15, 2010). Shedding light on orange wine
  8. ^ Asimov, Eric, The New York Times: The Pour (August 3, 2009). Orange Wines
  9. ^ Dalheim, Ulf, Adresseavisen (September 4, 2009). Ikke på ville veier (Norwegian)